March 12, 2018

I am re-posting a piece I wrote almost five years ago, because, despite the passage of time, the painful experience of being insulted or affronted continues to crop up and there is no easy, nor (often) blameless way to navigate these difficult interludes. The only revision I bring to these reflections is when, five years ago, I spoke of reconciliation as being “elusive” in the case of dealing with those who refuse to, or cannot, reckon with the truth. I… Read more

February 22, 2018

by Wendy Murray Shortly after my (spontaneous) conversion at the age of 16, I went on a youth convention to Dallas, Texas called Explo 72,  where, for the first time, I heard Billy Graham speak. But more than that, it is where I learned that the enthusiasms of my newly-animated spiritual awakening would, in due course, be overtaken by the struggles of real life. Speaking to a crowd of 80,000 youth, like me, Graham lifted his Bible and proclaimed to… Read more

February 16, 2018

By Wendy Murray Fred “Mister” Rogers died 15 years ago this month. I always think of him in February as the dregs of winter cloak me in discouragement. Thoughts of him bring light and hope. I miss him and I dare say the world misses him. He was a light amid darkness and in his silent, subtle, mighty way, he rescued children — and grown-ups too — from a world that would warp souls. I had the opportunity to spend… Read more

December 20, 2017

by Wendy Murray Once I pondered if I believed in “Christmas magic.” My primary impulse had been to scoff at the idea. But then a memory arose. I saw colored Christmas lights draped over gabled roofs of stately houses. I was seeing them from a car window as we drove along in the dark. The year was 1968. And on that particular Christmas, an odd convergence of unexpected circumstances fell together in a way that ended up configuring magic. The… Read more

December 18, 2017

by Wendy Murray A disastrous event that took place in Bethlehem related to Jesus’ birth that is also part of the picture of Christmas. Herod ordered the slaughter of all the boys two years old and under. Yet we tend to allow sleigh bells, evergreens, and shopping trips to push it out of view. It is nevertheless, in all its brutality, what Christmas is about: a Savior’s “invasion” (to borrow from C. S. Lewis) and confrontation with the forces of… Read more

December 11, 2017

In the magic of the Christmas story, let’s not forget the one who paid the bills by Wendy Murray In the rush and sentimentality of Christmas, the seeming ubiquitous chorus “ `round yon virgin, Mother and Child” makes it is easy to forget that two individuals became parents of the Son of God that improbable night. Mary is rendered the greater distinction, conceiving without having been with a man and holding so many things in heart. But Joseph deserves credit… Read more

December 6, 2017

Where Did “Christmas” Come From? Christmas is typically associated with the birth of Jesus, a Jew born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. I think we can all agree that the way the holiday is celebrated today carries little resemblance to a barn with animals and hay for a bed. There is an interesting, if convoluted, evolution about this holiday that clearly departs from any logical association of the birth of Jesus and thus the term “Christmas” ought not to… Read more

November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving approaches and we ponder giving thanks, it seems an appropriate time to reflect upon those forebears who put their lives on the line (and among whom many lives were lost), in order to stake a claim for religious freedom and govern by mutual covenant. These sojourners at the Plimouth Colony, known also as the Separatists, or Pilgrims, had plenty of problems to contend with in forming their system of governing in the midst of the precarious and hostile environment they… Read more

October 31, 2017

Three centuries before Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the church door at Wittenberg, Francis of Assisi had already rocked the Roman Church with radical, controversial and irrepressible reform. Whereas Luther brought to the foreground the concept of justification by grace through faith in contradistinction to the corrupt practices of the Catholic Church of his time, Francis of Assisi had not only brought the concept to the foreground of his religious movement, but had cleared the path for living… Read more

October 7, 2017

My father died 22 years ago on this day. I am within 10 years of the age at which my father died and I think of him still, and miss him as if I were still 14 and he was helping me with my math. I hated it when he helped me with my math. He was good at math and I really stunk at it, never understood it, and became exasperated with his “helpfulness” in explaining how self-evident the… Read more

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